Two old time rivals slugged it out and in the end the Fallon football team held on for a 20-12 win over Fernley in the first round of the Northern Division I-A playoffs on Friday at the Edward Arciniega Complex.
Overcoming a fierce Vaqueros defense, Fallon rebounded from a humbling loss to Lowry last week. Now, the Greenwave are in the state semifinals for the second time in three years and will host one of the Southern DI-A schools at 1 p.m. on Nov. 16.
Fernley, meanwhile, struck first as quarterback Skylar Williams scored on a 2-yard run with 2:26 left in the first quarter. The Vaqueros’ defense, however, bottled up Fallon’s high-flying attack throughout the first half until an interception swung momentum in the Wave’s favor.
Sophomore linebacker Evan Bitter picked off Williams with 43 seconds left in the half. Fallon quarterback Morgan Dirickson connected with Cameron Matzen for passes of 14 and 15 yards to put the Wave at Fernley’s 6-yard line. The next play Dirickson hooked up with tight end Dakota Schelling to tie the game at 6.
Fernley, meanwhile, took advantage of an interception of its own to take a 12-6 lead. Cornerback Shane Kelso picked off Dirickson and rumbled 66 yards to the Wave’s 16. Two plays later, running back Erik Wilson punched in an 11-yard run.
But Fallon responded with a pair of TDs and held off a fourth-quarter rally to ice the game. Dirickson lofted a 34-yard TD pass to Matzen, who made a juggling, tip-toe catch in the back of the end zone for a 13-12 lead with 6:12 left in the third quarter.
Dirickson found Matzen again in the fourth quarter for a 6-yard TD strike to give Fallon a 20-12 lead.
The Greenwave will host Moapa Valley, 20-13 winners over Virgin Valley. In the other game, Lowry visits Faith Lutheran in Las Vegas.